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Hilton Hotels Corporation has sold the Scandic hotel chain to private equity group EQT for an approximated ”833m ($1.1bn). Net proceeds after transaction costs are expected to reach $1.04bn.
Although subject to a number of conditions and clearance by the European Union regulators, the sale of the Hilton Family member is expected to complete in April 2007. Hilton plans to pay off debts with the proceeds.
132 properties are involved in the transaction, of which 128 are Scandic hotels, three are Hilton and one anomaly ” a Holiday Inn-branded property operated by Hilton. Three of these properties are owned, 121 are leased, five are managed and three are franchised.
Upon completion of the deal, Hilton”s operations in the Nordic region will consist of just six properties: three in Finland (including the Hilton Helsinki Vantaa Airport opening in August 2007), two in Sweden and one in Denmark at Copenhagen Airport.
Commenting on the sale, Hilton Hotels Corporation executive vice president and chief financial officer Robert M. La Forgia, commented: ”This proposed sale represents the latest execution of our strategy to generate a higher proportion of income from management and franchise fees, while also reducing debt. It will also enable us to reduce our income from leased hotels which, combined with a stronger balance sheet, would significantly strengthen our credit profile.”
Assuming the sale is closed in April and the proceeds do go towards debt payment, Hilton”s recurring EPS (earnings per share) is expected to drop to $0.10.